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Looking Hard

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/15/2012 at 13:37
Hugh357 View Drop Down
Optics GrassHopper
Optics GrassHopper


Joined: November/15/2012
Location: Iowa
Status: Offline
Points: 12
I have been looking for a good spotting scope.  Chime in here folks.  I believe I would like a angled scope over straight, especially target shooting and an occasional look at the heavens.   I have saved $2,500 and put it away in the piggy bank. I have studied Pentax, Vortex, Swarovski and Zeiss.  I am going to use the scope for range work out to 300 meters, general viewing as I like to go to the river and view eagles with my binoculars and some birding.  I have studied the FOV, relief, aberration, tripods, you get what you pay for, and heads and feel confident in that area.  I have settled on a Monfrato 055xb tripod.  It is a little on the heavy side but I am not going to be taking any super long hikes over a mile. The 055xb appears to be built like a tank.    I like the Monfrato 128 fluid head as it seems to be recommended by many and very solid and smooth.  I have been bugging Eagle Optics with a million questions and have even thought it might be a good idea to drive to Middleton, WI, and look through the various scopes.
I like a wide field of view, very little aberration, good color and clarity.  I read how Vortex Razor 85mm appears to be a good buy at $1,600 and compares well with the European optics. Fairly new on the optics scene with great customer service. I just can't get comfortable with Vortex. Pentax 80 mm been on the market for some time and a good buy  for the money.  It is my understanding the straight eye pieces for pentax are the way to go.  The Zeiss Diascope in 85mm.  I don't like the idea of the funny focus knob being all in one.  Plus Zeiss is offering a $500 rebate until 12-31-12.  Are they dropping the diascope at that time and offering a new model??  The new 95mm Swarovsky, wow.  But its field of view is only 104' at 1000.  And wow, the price, $4100? That makes me sweat.
Have at me folks and talk up a storm. I have visited other gun sites and received very little information.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/15/2012 at 14:25
Bitterroot Bulls View Drop Down
Optics Master Extraordinaire
Optics Master Extraordinaire
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Joined: May/07/2009
Location: Montana
Status: Offline
Points: 3380
Swarovski's ATM spotters, the Vortex Razor HD, and the Kowa Prominar 88 have awesome aberration corrected images.  The Zeiss Diascope 85 has a wide low end eyepiece with super high magnification (and super high resolution) available, but allows for more distortion and edge CA.
 
It sounds to me that your needs would be best met with a Swarovski ATM and the 25-50 wide-angle eyepiece.  It has everything you listed as wants.  However, I have yet to see the new Meopta S2 spotter and its 30-60 wide angle eyepiece, and it would probably be worth a look.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/15/2012 at 14:41
JGRaider View Drop Down
Optics Master
Optics Master


Joined: February/06/2008
Status: Offline
Points: 1431
I'll cast a vote for the Kowa Prominar 884 as mentioned by Bitterroot.  I took this pic with my Iphone and the 884 from almost 3/4 of a mile a few days ago.  IMO you won't find one better, but the Razor 85 HD is really good for much less money.  


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/15/2012 at 17:26
Urimaginaryfrnd View Drop Down
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Joined: June/20/2005
Location: Iowa
Status: Offline
Points: 13873
My favorite tripod head is a Magestic gear driven head but they weigh a lot however the up side is minute adjustments are very smooth and easy to make.  Its not really a practical head if you have to carry it very far though.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/16/2012 at 21:27
gulf1263 View Drop Down
Optics Apprentice
Optics Apprentice
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Joined: June/15/2011
Location: Alaska
Status: Offline
Points: 212
IMHO, the Kowa 883 and 884 are great scopes but are very large and require a larger, sturdier head and tripod, the Swarovski ATM 80 HD is lighter, easier to handle and requires a slightly smaller head and tripod, the Vortex is much than the Swarovski and requires the heavier head and tripod
The Swarovski 95 is just to much of a good thing, it is expensive, large and requires a very good head and tripod.
As a "mine is bigger than yours" it is the ultimate..or if you need to do .gov type work.
The Swarovski ATM 80 HD has been a constant in the hunting and birding communities here in Alaska and has held up well, people have been willing to spend their hard earned money to purchase this scope and use it under extreme conditions because of it's combination of optical quality, size, weight and durability.
I admit that I am prejudiced and an optics junkie.
Art


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/06/2012 at 22:54
Hugh357 View Drop Down
Optics GrassHopper
Optics GrassHopper


Joined: November/15/2012
Location: Iowa
Status: Offline
Points: 12
Looking no more.  I purchased a Meopta S2 Angled spotting scope with the 30x60 wide angle eye piece.  I like a wide field of view. To get a good steady tripod I went with the Manfrotto 055xv and a 128 fluid head.  To store the scope I purchased a Pelican 1550 case. The Pelican case is water proof, dust proof and dog gone near indestructible. It is made out of a high grade polymer with a pressure release valve to purge air from the entire system. I decided not to get the S2 scope cover as the ratings I read on a bird forum stated the case cover had to be totally unzipped leaving it flopping in the wind. Had to be totally unzipped to get to the focus knob.  Another issue I had with the scope case is they are not offered in the United States due to demand.  I picked up a Celestron universal point and shot camera holder for my S90 Canon camera.  I thought it would be fun to try my hand at diascoping.   The adapter and the tripod all have the quick release adapter for ease of removal and installation.
I picked up the entire system through B and H Camera in New York.  Shipping is free with the normal shipping and it is my understanding it will be 4-7 days.
I chose the Meopta with the wide angle eye piece due to the clarity, brightness, color and the field of view.  The scope is supposed to be totally free of chromatic aberration due to the quality of glass and the coatings that are applied by Meopta.  Meopta is a large optics company that has been in business since 1933 and they are homed in the Czech Republic.  According to their Bio they make a lot of military applications and it is also they make some optics for other high end optics companies. 
I did exhaustive  research at a variety of sporting good stores and research on line.  I literally bugged a lot of retailers all over the states.  I looked through as many scopes as I could.  Now, this will make you laugh. I have never looked through a Meopta Optic.  I am sure my research was good enough to warrant the leap in faith.  We will see in about 10 days. 
I will be sure to take the unit out and put it through the paces.  I will do some shooting and view some eagles on the River in all conditions.  I will give you a full report when I am finished.  I am still breathing a little hard after writing the check.
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